It’s been one week since a teenage girl was targeted and shot to death at a park in Oceanside and investigators are now offering a reward for information leading to an arrest in the disturbing case.
“Who murdered Anabell Flores?” a bulletin released Friday by San Diego County Crime Stoppers asked. The agency is offering a $1,000 reward for that answer.
On Sept. 3, just after 2:30 a.m., officer with the Oceanside Police Department (OPD) were called to Joe Balderrama Park in the 700 block of San Diego Street to investigate reports of multiple gunshots fired at the public park.
When officers arrived at the scene, they made a heart-wrenching discovery: Flores – just 15 years old – lying on her back in the playground area of the park near some handball courts, dead from at least one gunshot wound.
According to investigators, it appeared Flores had been targeted by the shooter or shooters, and this was not a random act of violence.
One week later, police have yet to make an arrest in the girl’s slaying. Investigators have said they believe witnesses were present during the deadly shooting, and police are in the process of tracking down all potential witnesses.
“We believe there were possibly witnesses on the scene during the incident, but we don’t know what the role was of those witnesses,” Ryan Keim with the OPD told NBC 7 last weekend.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can contact the OPD at (760) 435-4730 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
The killing of Flores has shaken Oceanside to its core. Her loved ones still can’t believe she’s gone.
Flores’ friends and family have described the teen as lovable. They told NBC 7 she loved hanging out with her friends at Balderrama Park, and considered the playground home.
A memorial for the teen was held at the park earlier this week. Flowers were placed on the playground as community members and police officers mourned the teen’s tragic death, praying for an end to senseless violence in Oceanside.
This isn't the first time a young victim has been shot to death at a park in the community.
In March 2013, four teens -- including Melanie Virgen, 13, and Edgar Sanchez Rios, 16 -- were gunned down at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside. Rios and Virgen died, while the other two teens survived the shooting. The suspects in that slaying were sentenced earlier this year.
Before that, in May 2011, the bodies of teens Fernando Felix Solano, 16, and Sandra Salgado, 14, were found shot to death near Libby Lake Park.
A community impacted by gang activity, Oceanside continues to rebuild after the violent tragedies, promoting a better life for youth through mentoring programs such as the Vista Community Clinic’s Project REACH.
Still, parents in Oceanside say they are outraged and frustrated that these types of shootings keep happening – robbing young residents of their lives.